Tours: Keith Is Entertaining, Bath's Godot & HabeasDate: 20 July 2006
Two productions from this summerís annual regional repertory seasons Ė Chichester Festivalís Entertaining Angels starring Penelope Keith (See News, 9 May 2006), and Sir Peter Hallís Theatre Royal Bath revival of Alan Bennettís Habeas Corpus (See News, 8 Feb 2006) - will launch tours in the coming weeks. In addition, Hallís 50th anniversary revival of Samuel Beckettís Waiting for Godot, whose West End transfer was blocked following its run at Bath last summer (See News, 16 Aug 2005), will be resurrected for three new regional dates.
In Entertaining Angels, Keith playís vicarís wife Grace. After many years of being on her best behaviour - and personally baking two tons of light crust pastry - the death of Graceís much-loved husband gives her the freedom to do and say exactly what she pleases. Keith previously appeared at Chichester in The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Importance of Being Earnest and Relatively Speaking and was last seen in the West End in Blithe Spirit in 2004.
Alan Strachan directs Richard Everettís new comedy, which ran in Chichester from 5 to 27 May 2006. On 5 September 2006, the production will reopen at Richmond prior to visiting Brighton, Woking, Malvern, Milton Keynes, Windsor and Bath, where it concludes its tour on 28 October 2006.
Just opened at Bath as part of Peter Hallís annual repertory season, Habeas Corpus continues there until 12 August 2006 before immediately continuing to Plymouth, Malvern, Glasgow, Salford, Brighton and Poole until 30 September. James Fleet (pictured) stars in Hallís new production of the 1973 play by Alan Bennett, still riding high from his continued international success with 2004ís The History Boys, which last month added six Tonys to its bulging awards chest (See News, 12 Jun 2006).
Habeas Corpus explores permissiveness in 1960s Brighton through a maze of mistaken identities and sexual encounters. Fleetís credits include Mary Stuart, Three Sisters, Art, The Late Middle Classes on stage, and Charlotte Gray, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Sense and Sensibility on screen.
Beckettís Waiting for Godot was the final production in Hallís Bath season last summer. The director had hoped to bring the production to the West Endís Arts Theatre, where he directed the English-language world premiere in 1955 when he was the theatreís 25-year-old artistic director. However, a clash over the proposed transfer led to a very public spat between Hall and directors at the Barbican Centre and Dublinís Gate Theatre, who jointly held the London rights for their Beckett centenary festival earlier this year (See News, 17 Mar 2006).
In Waiting for Godot, two tramps, Vladimir and Estragon, are waiting on a deserted road. As they pass the time, they ask the question: ďWill Mr Godot ever come?Ē. In the National Theatreís NT2000 poll, theatre professionals voted Waiting for Godot the most significant English language play of the 20th century.
This year, Hallís production of Beckettís modern masterpiece will open on 4 September 2006 back at the Theatre Royal Bath and will then visit Oxford and Richmond, finishing on 30 September 2006. James Laurenson and Alan Dobie reprise their 2005 Bath performances as Vladimir and Estragon, with Richard Dormer as Lucky and Terence Rigby as Pozzo.
- by Terri Paddock